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ROBERT LEE DAVIS v. STATE OF MISSISSIPPI

APRIL 06, 1983

ROBERT LEE DAVIS
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI



BEFORE BROOM, PRATHER AND ROBERTSON

ROBERTSON, JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:

I.

Robert Lee Davis brings this appeal from the Circuit Court's denial of habeas corpus relief. On April 20, 1972, Davis began the service of three consecutive life sentences. Disingenuously, he argues that he is eligible for parole as though he were under a single life sentence. The Circuit Court denied relief. We affirm.

 II.

 On April 7, 1972, the Grand Jury of Washington County, Mississippi, returned indictments against Davis charging him with three separate rape offenses, the first committed September 8, 1971, the second committed October 3, 1971, and the third committed November 13, 1971. In due course, Davis entered pleas of guilty to each indictment. On April 20, 1972, the following sentences were imposed by the Circuit Court of Washington County, to-wit:

 (a) In Case No. 15,140, on the criminal docket of the Circuit Court, the case arising out of the rape occurring on November 13, 1971, Davis was sentenced to life imprisonment.

 (b) In Case No. 15,141, arising out of the rape committed on September 8, 1971, Davis was sentenced to serve a term of life imprisonment, said term to be consecutive with and not concurrent with the sentence imposed in Case No. 15,140.

 (c) In Case No. 15,142, involving the rape committed on October 3, 1971, a sentence of life imprisonment was imposed to run consecutive with and not concurrent with the sentence imposed in Case No. 15,141.

 In short, effective April 20, 1972, Davis stood committed to the Mississippi State Penitentiary for a term equal to three times as many years as remained in his natural life.

 On May 11, 1982, Davis brought the instant habeas corpus proceeding in the Circuit Court of Sunflower County, Mississippi. See Rule 8.07 of Uniform Criminal Rules of Circuit Court Practice. In his petition, Davis alleged that he had been incarcerated for more than ten years, that he had, therefore, become eligible for consideration for parole [see Miss. Code Ann. 47-7-3 (1972)], but that the State of Mississippi, via its officials at the Mississippi State Penitentiary and serving on the Mississippi State Parole Board, had refused to consider his request for parole.

 Upon more than adequate consideration of the matter, the Circuit Court held that Davis was entitled to no relief. More specifically, the Circuit Court held that the provision of Section 47-7-3 that a person under a life sentence becomes eligible for parole after ten years, when properly applied to this case, mandates that Davis not be eligible for parole until he has served thirty (30) years, ten (10) years for each life sentence, less thirty (30%) percent of his earned good time.

 III.

 The courts of this state always stand ready to entertain the habeas corpus petition of one incarcerated at the Mississippi State Penitentiary wherein he seeks to clarify his sentence. Watts v. Lucas, 394 So. 2d 903, 903 (Miss. 1981); Hill v. State, 388 So. 2d 143, 146 (Miss. 1980). Rule 8.07 of the Uniform Criminal Rules of Circuit Court Practice provides a procedure which may be invoked by prisoners seeking such relief. Suffice it to say that there are no procedural barriers to Davis petitioning for the relief sought below. The Circuit Court considered his petition on the merits, and we do likewise.

 A prisoner has no automatic entitlement to parole. It may be granted or withheld by the state - to be sure, not arbitrarily - as a matter of grace. That the state holds out the possibility of parole provides no more than a mere hope that the benefit will be obtained. Greenholtz v. Inmates of the Nebraska Penal and ...


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